past & future
scholarly journal publishing
This page covers scholarly/technical journal publishing,
arguably the area where the web has had most impact on
traditional publishing practice.
It covers -
post-prints and archives
Electronic Journals: Realities for Scientists, Librarians
& Publishers (Washington: Special Libraries Association
2000) by Carol Tenopir & Donald King is essential
reading, full of detailed figures and insights. The authors'
to criticisms of that book are illuminating.
Robert Kling's 1995 introduction
Controversies About Electronic Journals & Scholarly
Communication retains its value. Kling coauthored
Analyzing Visions of Electronic Publishing & Digital
Libraries, usefully read before consulting major studies
such as Jean-Claude Guedon's detailed work
for the Association of Research Libraries on Beyond
Core Journals & Licenses: The Paths to Reform Scientific
the serials crisis
The May 1997 issue of the online Newsletter
on Serials Pricing (NSP)
featured Ken Rouse's article
on The Serials Crisis In The Age of Electronic Access,
arguing that institutions and individuals could not keep
pace with the increasing cost of professional journals,
whether online or in print.
Recent updates suggest the situation hasn't improved.
As a result there's increasing attention to suggestions
for a new publishing framework. Debate essentially
centres on who's paying for the free lunch.
The current model for commercial scholarly publishing
(whether by businesses such as Elsevier or by scholarly/professional
societies) assumes that subscription costs will be borne
by academic or other institutions, which will provide
scholars and employees with free access to the content.
without an institutional affiliation and institutions
that lack the wherewithal for a subscription are denied
access to much of the content.
The Free Online Scholarship (FOS) movement proposes an
alternative model, in which organisations would use the
web to publish content created by their staff - with supposedly
greatly reduced costs - and make the content free to anyone
who's online. The nexus of funding
would move from libraries (ie payments to publishers)
to elsewhere within research institutions (faculties become
Library Consumerism in the Digital Age, a paper
by Johann van Reenen, librarians were castigated for "meekness"
and scholars were urged to vote with their wallets. Terry
Rohe more perceptively asked How
Does Electronic Publishing Affect the Scholarly Communication
Lessons For the Future Of Journals, a paper
for Nature's scholarly publishing forum, Carol
Tenopir & Donald King summarised research on the use
and costs of scientific journals from 1960 to 2000.
That is particularly useful because much of the polemic
about online scholarly publishing isn't based on hard
They question the "mistaken belief ... that new technologies
can easily remedy any weakness in the system", cautioning
against "all-or-nothing approaches an entirely
electronic system, or e-print servers or article databases
totally replacing journals".
In January 2001 the US Scholarly Resources
& Academic Publishing Coalition (SPARC) released its
Declaring Independence: A Guide to Creating Community
Controlled Science Journals (DI).
Andrew Odlyzko, in a paper (PDF)
for The Transition from Paper: A Vision of Scientific
Communication in 2020 (London: Springer 00) was
characteristically incisive in noting that
entire mathematical literature collected over the centuries
is perhaps 30 million pages, so digitizing it at a cost
of $0.60 per page would cost $18 million, less than
ten percent of the annual journal bill
In the mid 1990's Hal Varian argued
that the economics driving e-publishing necessitated changes
in the form of the scholarly journal. Tom Wilson's 1995
on Social & Economic Factors in Scholarly Electronic
Communication and Electronic Journals and Scholarly
Communication: A Citation and Reference Study, a paper
by Steven Harter & Hak Kim, endorsed that argument.
In the UK Judith Edwards wrote in the 1997 Ariadne
on Electronic Journals: Problems or panacea?, while
Bernard Hibbitts of the University of Pittsburgh questioned
whether it was Last Writes?: Re-assessing the Law Review
in the Age of Cyberspace.
As an attitudinal study Philip McEldowney's 1995 masters
on Scholarly Electronic Journals: Trends & Academic
Attitudes is becoming dated but is of interest. Andrew
Treloar's 1999 doctoral thesis on Hypermedia Scholarly
Publishing: the Transformation of the Scholarly Journal
is substantial and backgrounds his Are E-Journals a
new genre, or an old genre in a new medium? (PDF)
on Products & Processes: How Innovation and Product
Life-Cycles Can Help Predict The Future Of The Electronic
The proceedings of
the 1998 International Council for Science Press
(ICSU) Workshop on Economics, Real Costs & Benefits
of Electronic Publishing in Science are also of value.
That gathering followed the 1996 ICSU-UNESCO conference
on Electronic Publishing in Science and
Paul Ginsparg's 1996 report
on Winners & Losers in the Global Research Village.
The JEP paper
Designing Electronic Journals With 30 Years of Lessons
from Print by Carol Tenopir & Donald King drew
on a range of studies in suggesting that some journals
should publish in both print and electronic formats.
the independence movement
Keith Raney's JEP paper
Into A Glass Darkly questioned whether electronic
publishing would result in significant savings while maintaining
existing standards. A more positive view is evident in
The Hundred Years War Started Today: An Exploration
of Electronic Peer Review, a 1996 article
by John Peters.
Iconoclast Steven Harnad advocated
a revolution: scientists self-publishing without the involvement
of the commercial publishers. That call was endorsed
by the Public Library of Science (PLS),
which by May 2002 had gained over 30,000 signatories but
failed to achieve a major boycott of science publishers.
His arguments are expanded by Okerson and others in Scholarly
Communications At The Crossroads, noted above, in
Thomas Walker's paper
The electronic future of scientific journals, and
in the SPARC project described
by Mark Rambler in Do It Yourself: A New Solution to
the Journals Crisis.
The British journal Nature hosts an ongoing online
about electronic access to primary scientific literature.
pre-prints, post-prints and archives